I had multiple sessions with a psychologist (also a 3* eventer) this summer and I really noticed a difference. After my first session with her in July I was able to finish out my show season without any crippling anxiety.
|I also take sporadic clinics with the good Dr. It's great to have a team that gets it.|
I had planned to take the first part of our off-sesaon to focus strictly on dressage. And then I got offered one of the last spots in a Jessica Phoenix clinic. I couldn't turn that down! I started doing weekly jumping lessons again, in preperation for the clinic. The first two went well, ending with us bopping around a 3' course like NBD. For some reason the next one is where everything fell apart.
The course had some really challenging elements but was definitely within our abilities. The first time around the course was fine. And then the fences went up two holes (bringing the fences anywhere from 2'9"-3'3"), and it all fell apart. I struggled to cope with the meteoric rise in anxiety. I utilized all the tools that had allowed me to have such a wonderful summer.
It just wasn't enough. While I didn't have an actual panic attack, I did feel like one was building. I guess I did succeed in recognizing it, but I didn't feel like I could get past it. My instructor actually made me grab the neck strap with both hands and I was not allowed to let go. Thankfully Dee steers really well off my seat and legs and has a good understanding of neck reining. This really took most of the responsibility out of my hands and Dee carted me around like the Best Pony she is.
Its frustrating and demoralizing to have lesson like these ones. While I did end on a decent note, it wasn't fun, I didn't feel like I learned anything and more than anything it felt like a step back.
Then today my ballroom instructor posted this on Facebook.
So I guess I'll just Cha-Cha my way into the clinic this weekend. And schedule another appointment with the psychologist.